Ditching Tradition

In the last seven years freezing marijuana harvest for extraction has become almost a necessity to producing pure, high potency extracts while also maximizing on profit, man-hours, energy and space requirements.

“Freezing harvested cannabis can save lots of time, labor, and risk—and also money. It eliminates whole steps,” said Rosenthal. “The more sophisticated the farmer, the more likely they are to do that.” Says Ed Rosenthal, co-author of the 2017 crop science book Marijuana Harvest (this story’s author, David Downs, is Marijuana Harvest’s co-author). “

Out with the old, in with the new..

In traditional methods, we see farmers harvesting when terpenes and cannabinoids are at their peak ripeness and then entering a curing process for up to 16 days. During this time curing can be tedious work in balancing the right temperature and humidity levels to prevent Botrytis (mold) from forming and the ensure maximum yield of terps and THC/CBD.

The new approach is to cut the plants, separate the buds and freeze them at -38°c, having the low temperatures prevent degeneration and preserve flavor, terps and cannabinoids for future processing along with increased shelf-life. This also allows the grower to “hang onto” yield until a more preferable market spike hits.

With extraction demand increasing, these more ideal methods are becoming mandatory to stay competitive in today’s market. People are turning to extractions like live rosin, which is used in pens and oil rigs as it is often 4-5 times more potent than smoking cured cannabis and also a lot easier to enjoy. Another benefit of concentrates is the decrease in scent. Generally smoking and entire joint would be potent enough to be noticed in the next room or hallway of a building but with resin you can be much more subtle.

We also see that with fresh-frozen extracts CBD/THC levels stay closer to their peak with little to no degeneration. With frozen you are preserving previous terps and cannabinoids that are normally lost to the curing process.

Freezing cannabis is a new celebrated approach that seems unlikely to be going anywhere soon..

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